Friday Links: Reading Your Way into Summer

TGIF! It’s been a long and not-so-terrific week for me, filled with insurance talk: car insurance to handle the repairs to my new car after it was rear-ended on Sunday, and the health insurance machinations in Washington, D.C. all over the news and social media. My reaction? I really just want to go hide and read a good book.

Reading has always been my reaction to stress. Sometimes I reach for a feel-good favorite, while other times I want to read about people solving their problems so I know there’s hope that things will turn around. Books really are my answer to most everything. So this week’s links come down heavy on the book talk and recommendations. It’s officially summer, so let the great seasonal book binge commence. (And if you’re in the southern hemisphere, well, curling up with a book is still a good idea.) Wishing you all a wonderful weekend filled with productive writing time and lots of excellent stories. Enjoy!

10 Famous Book Hoarders – Check out these enormous book collections and the people who own them.

The 17 Best Young Adult Novels of 2017 – Some terrific sounding titles to add to your TBR pile, or your kids’.

Now Is the Time to Read These 11 Novels about Female Artists – Delve into the worlds of these fascinating and talented women.

24 in 48 July Readathon Sign-Ups – The 24 in 48 readathon has been set for July 22-23, and sign-ups are officially open. For the uninitiated, this readathon involves trying to spend 24 hours reading over the course of two days (so, 24 out of 48). There’s lots of chatter on social media during the readathon about what everyone’s reading and loving (or not), snacking on, using for a quick break, and so on, plus fun challenges to keep things interesting for anyone who feels like playing along. I highly recommend, even if you can only join in for a few hours.

Speaking from the Shadows: 5 Books that Tell the Monster’s Story – One obvious choice, but this is still a great list if this perspective interests you, or you just want a change of pace.

A Brief History of Pen Names – An interesting look at some of the reasons writers have used pen names through the years.

The Story Museum – If you live near or are visiting Oxford, England, this museum sounds like a must-see for anyone with a literary bent, young or old.

Leading Ladies in Lit: 16 Books with Fierce Female Protagonists – Pretty much what it says on the box. Some terrific sounding titles here.

Science Fiction Short Story Collections by Authors of Color – Book Riot compiled these recommendations as part of a celebration of what would have been Octavia Butler’s 70th birthday.

Friday Links from North of the Border

Greetings from beautiful Surrey, British Columbia, Canada! I’m in conference mode, hence the somewhat late post today. I intended to schedule something last night but it just never happened, so I’m sneaking in between pitches and dinner to leave you a few goodies for your weekend entertainment. I hope you find them interesting and inspiring. Happy writing!

12 Awesome Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the British Library – For curiosity’s sake or for adventure/travel plans.

Excellent Nonfiction about Girls for Tween and Teen Readers – Great list, whether you’re shopping for the teen reader in your life or for a bit of industry research.

Interview with a Gatekeeper: Algonquin’s Elisabeth Scharlatt – One editor/publisher opens up about the industry.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon – Read all day on October 22nd! Sorry for the late announcement but there’s still time to join in if you want.

17 Short Story Competitions to Enter Before the End of the Year – Pretty much what it says.

What the Deuce: The Curse Words of Charles Dickens – A look at how the author got around the censorship of his time.

Friday Links: Books as Writing Teachers

Happy Friday! Apologies for the lack of links last week. I was in San Diego for the RWA National Conference, and though I intended to post, my schedule kind of ran away with itself (and with me). It was a wonderful conference, so I only feel a little bad. But I’m back with an assortment of things to keep you reading and writing through the upcoming weekend, especially if — like me — you’re facing triple-digit temperatures for the duration. But I will say that if you feel the need to take a movie break along the way, I highly recommend the new Star Trek movie, which I saw last night and was terrific. I suspect I’ll be sneaking in a repeat viewing.

Now on to this week’s Friday Links. There’s a particular emphasis this week on improving your writing through reading widely and well. Wishing you all a lovely weekend filled with fun and inspiration, and hopefully some progress on your current WIP. Enjoy!

24 in 48 Readathon – My favorite readathon is taking place this weekend. For those of you who aren’t familiar, the idea is to read for 24 hours out of 48 between Saturday and Sunday. It’s low pressure, with people reading however much they can, with a bunch of fun social media activities and friendly sharing of book recs. There’s still time to sign up!

Do Writers Need to Be Alone to Thrive? – An interesting look at the benefits of solitude for a writing career.

What Our Editors Look for on an Opening Page – Some great insider tips from the folks at Penguin Random House.

15 Literary Magazines for New & Unpublished Writers – A list of markets for writers looking to break into publication.

Welcome to the Last Bookstore – A great short documentary featuring Josh Spencer, who owns and operates the iconic bookstore in downtown Los Angeles.

7 YA Books that Are as Good as a Writing Class – I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but these titles will definitely illustrate some wonderful writing techniques if you read them closely, plus give you good insight into the recent YA market.

On the Journals of Famous Writers – Interesting look at the differences in writers’ journals and what can be gained by reading them.

 

Readathon Wrap-up

Here’s a quick wrap-up for anyone curious as to the outcome of my readathon experience this weekend. I made it about 18 of the 24 hours, but because things geared up at 5am in my time zone, I was pretty much done by 11pm, without a lot of hope for waking early and reading more before the 5am deadline the following day. So I crashed and just got up briefly to cheer everyone on Twitter, then conked out for a few more hours.

Still, I read two entire books over the course of my readathon, one full comic book trade (about 6 regular-length issues), and made it about 50 pages into a third book, so I call it a win. Sunday, I did very little, and certainly no more reading, but it made for a great weekend, and as always I found the readathon experience to be tons of fun. There’s something about knowing so many other people around the world are settled in with their books and keeping track along with you. The social media aspect makes it even more enjoyable. A different experience for what is normally such a solitary activity.

Books read:

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball (ARC)

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (in progress)

Secret Avengers v. 1: Reverie by Nick Spencer and Luke Ross

Readathon: Six Hours Down

BuriedGiant

We’re just over a quarter of the way through the readathon, and I’m about two-thirds of the way through my book. I always have high hopes for these events, but the reality is I rarely manage more than three books over the course of a readathon, and that’s only if I read pretty steadily for the full 24 hours. Today I will probably grab something short to read in the middle, once I’ve finished the Ishiguro, so I have a bit more sense of accomplishment.

I do realize that reading speed is personal and enjoying your book is the important part of the readathon, but at the same time, I’d love to make more of a dent in my TBR stack, which is enormous. All I can do is keep plugging away, and put down any reading picks that aren’t suiting my mood to move on to something that might engage me more. And on that note, I’m headed back to my book.

Ready, Set, Read!

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon kicks off this morning. It’s an east-coast-centered event, which means for me here in SoCal, the reading starts at 5am. I’d considered delaying a bit and reading slightly later than the rest of the crew, but what’s the fun in that? So I set my alarm and now I’m wide awake and raring to go. This means: coffee is brewing, I’ve pulled out my Jane Austen mug for the occasion, I put an extra pillow on my couch, and the coffee table is weighed down with books. I’ll post here occasionally throughout the day, but will probably be updating on Twitter: @NepheleTempest, so if you’re curious about my progress or what I’m reading, that’s the place to check. Happy reading to anyone else participating!

 

Friday Links: Recommit to Your Writing Goals

Happy Friday, everyone! And a very happy Easter to those of you celebrating this weekend. I suspect anyone dealing with bunnies and eggs and midnight services might not get a whole lot of writing done over the next few days, but that still leaves a few days on the other side of the weekend to address what I’m going to talk about next, which is the end of the month — and therefore the end of the first quarter of 2016.

Ah, snuck up on you, didn’t it? Kind of hard to believe we’re just about three months into the year, but we are. So I challenge you to take an hour or two between now and April 1st to take a peek at your list of goals for this year and see how you’re doing. On track? Need to recommit? Can you cross anything off? Maybe things have changed and you need to rework one or more goal in light of those changes. Only you can say for certain, but now is the perfect time to make those decisions and figure out where you go from here. And for those of you who didn’t make any writing goals for 2016, it’s never too late to start! We still have nine months ahead of us and it’s amazing how much you can do in that amount of time.

As for this week’s links, I hope they inspire you in your commitment to your goals and maybe help you get them done. Enjoy, and happy writing!

Lynn Steger Strong On Writing Characters Too Nuanced to Be Reduced – An interesting article with some thoughts on making characters deep and true.

Opportunities for Writers: April and May 2016 – A list of fellowships, competitions, etc. where you can submit your writing in the next couple of months.

Before You Blow Up Your Life, Do This – Jonathan Fields on knowing when not to quit your day job.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon – Sign-ups are now open for this fun readathon scheduled for April 23rd. A great way to set aside some time specifically for catching up with your reading.

The Life of a Book: An Interview with Editor Brant Rumble, Part 1 – The first in a series from Penguin Random House tracing the book’s journey from manuscript to bookstore.

On Terrible Writing Advice from Famous Writers – A humorous reminder to always think for yourself and filter what you hear.

Want to Write for Book Riot? – The bookish site is currently seeking new contributors.

 

Friday Links: Readathons, Reading Recs, and More

Happy Friday! I hope everyone’s had a good week and is raring to go for the weekend. I’m actually in the process of unpacking my schedule a bit, as I feel a potential cold creeping up on me and I absolutely do not have time to get sick. So rather than my current triple-booked weekend, I’m going to tone it down and do something logical, like sleep.

That doesn’t mean the rest of you can’t whoop it up on my behalf, however. One thing I was excited about for the weekend was Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon, which takes place tomorrow, October 17th, starting at 7am Central Time. Those of you who have been reading here for a while know I’ve fallen hard for the readathon concept. As someone who does tons of reading, but frequently can’t carve out time to read purely for pleasure, I adore the idea of setting aside a chunk of time just for that purpose, and a readathon gives me a ready excuse. I learned about this one just yesterday and was all set to put in my full 24-hours, but now I’m planning to be more sensible and just read part of the day. Anyone interested should definitely check it out, though, because it’s a fun way to plow through a bit of your TBR stack.

With that in mind, I’ve got some great bookish links for you this week, along with everything else, and given the time of year, some might just have a slightly spooky slant. There’s something for everyone, so check them out, and have a fabulous weekend!

Why Autumn Belongs to Ray Bradbury – A look at the prolific author and his love of all things October.

10 Female-Written Short Stories Everyone Should Read – A companion to the list of more general short fiction (though mostly by men) that made the rounds a while back. Great selections, including some with a definite Halloween flavor.

What Every Successful Novel Opening Must Do: Myth vs. Reality – A look at some commonly held beliefs about those first precious pages, and some ideas regarding exceptions to the rules.

Man Booker Winner’s Debut Novel Rejected Nearly 80 Times – Marlon James, who just won the Man Booker Prize for his book A Brief History of Seven Killings, talks about his long road to publication with an earlier work.

Why the Printed Book Will Last Another 500 Years – Don’t know if it’s true, but I’m crossing my fingers. Much as I love the convenience of reading on my iPad, I still prefer reading on paper. I’m a fan of books as objects just as much as for what’s between their covers.

Ursula K. LeGuin: Steering the Craft – On writing. The author discusses the new revised version of her classic writing guide, geared especially for the needs of the 21st century.

Should You Be Using a Pen Name? – Great discussion of the whys and the hows, with helpful supplementary links to additional resources.

2015 National Book Award Shortlists Announced – Pretty much what it says on the label. Some of these have been on my TBR for a while. Need to get reading…

Friday Links

Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend? I certainly am. This week has been… trying, in many respects. Not bad, just the sort of week that keeps you scrambling to keep up.

Unsurprisingly, a host of additional things have popped up on my radar for the weekend, which also happens to be the weekend of the 24 in 48 Readathon, so I suspect I’m going to be burning the midnight oil no matter what I do. But there are worse things than staying up late to read, and I certainly have a sizable stack of books  lined up for my reading hours.

Meanwhile, I have links! This week went very quickly and there were fewer things jumping out at me than usual, but I hope you find the assortment enjoyable anyway. Wishing you some excellent reading and writing time, and a wonderful weekend overall.

Kelly Sue DeConnick Is the Future of Women in Comics – Whether or not you’re a comics reader, this is a fabulous profile of a kick-ass woman and inspirational to anyone who has an interest in working creatively. I highly recommend.

Paper Chasing – On book collecting vs. book reading. Interesting, no matter what format you use when accumulating reading material.

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2015 Book PreviewThe Millions posts a bi-annual list of the most anticipated books for the coming half year (by their reckoning). Even if it doesn’t cover your own most anticipated titles, it’s a great resource for checking out what’s coming down the pike.

The Writers Who Invented Languages – A look at authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin who have created original languages for their characters.

Writing Excuses: Why Can’t I Just Jump to the Ending? – A really important lesson on writing the middle of the book. Part of the Writing Excuses year-long podcast workshop on writing your book from start to finish, but it works perfectly as a stand-alone look at what can be the most problematic part of a story.

Summer Binge Reading

Half the planet is in summer reading mode, even if summer won’t officially begin for a few more days. But summer reading means different things to different people. Some think about light beach reads enjoyed in the sunshine, others seek to catch up on the hefty titles they couldn’t spare the attention for during the winter months, and still other readers care less about what they’re reading and more about binging on books in general.

For those of you intent on cruising through a bunch of your TBR pile, I have wonderful news: not one, but two readathons on the horizon.

What’s a readathon you ask? It’s pretty much what you think it is. Organizers set their own rules for each specific event, but the basics remain the same. A time period is set, and readers dedicate themselves to reading as much as they can between the start time and the finish time. Some events challenge you to read for twenty-four hours straight. Others ask you to set goals for what percent of the time period you will spend with your nose in a book. But all readathons allow you to schedule a book binge with a clear conscience, because while that readathon is taking place, you’re supposed to be reading.

Regular readers of this blog might recall that I became a readathon convert last fall with the 24 in 48 Readathon in November. I spend so much of my reading time focused on client work or submissions that it’s not always easy to get around to those published books lining my shelves and piling up next to my bed. I love the idea of setting aside a weekend with the expressed purpose of reading for myself. And I am definitely overdue for a bit of personal reading time.

So if you’re feeling the need to read, check out one or both of these upcoming readathon events. I’m already signed up for 24 in 48 in July.

The Tenth Annual 48-Hour Book Challenge

This challenge runs from Friday, June 19th, through Sunday, June 21st. You choose when to start and finish within that three-day time frame, but you much pick a 48-hour window — Friday at noon to Sunday at noon, for example. Within your chosen 48 hours, you decide how many reading hours you want to shoot for, and the Mother Reader blog, host for this event, is providing prizes for top readers in various time frames. And even if you don’t win, you’ll get tons of reading done! Complete rules and instructions are up at the site. This sounds like a fun challenge and I only wish I could take the time to participate this weekend.

24 in 48 Readathon

This challenge runs from 12:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 11th, until 11:59pm on Sunday, July 12th. The premise is simple: read for 24 hours total, spread out however you wish, during the 48 hours of the challenge. This leaves plenty of time for things like sleeping and stretching and grabbing a bite to eat. I participated in last November’s challenge and had a great time. Rachel Manwill, the force behind the challenge, sets up fun check-in tasks and prizes throughout the weekend, and everyone is great about sharing what they’re reading and how they’re progressing on social media. As I said above, I’m already on board for this one.